The Dragonfly Game

Longtime readers of The Prairie Ecologist may remember The Plant Game, a creatively-named feature of this blog that has been dormant for a while. If you don’t remember it, you can go back and find examples here, here or here. I’m sure it will shock you to learn that The Plant Game was a great way for me to come up with a blog post when I didn’t really have anything to write about that week.

In unrelated news, I’m introducing a new game this week called The Dragonfly Game. It is completely different from The Plant Game in that it is about dragonflies, not plants.

This variegated meadowhawk is a common migratory dragonfly species that passes through the Platte River Prairies each spring and fall.

Here’s how The Dragonfly Game works. I give you a list of four names. Three are official names (common names, not Latin names) of either dragonflies or damselflies. One is a name I made up. You just have to figure out which is the fake name. Click on your choice. That’s the whole game. I’ll wait a day or so and then put the correct answers in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Damselflies can be distinguished from dragonflies most easily because they are much skinnier and tend to hold their wings folded back along their “tail” when at rest – as compared to dragonflies, which tend to keep their wings outstretched.

Dragonfly names are crazy, aren’t they? Do you think you got all of them right? Check back to see – the correct answers will be below in the comments section starting about 24 hours after this post comes out.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

5 thoughts on “The Dragonfly Game

  1. Here are your answers: The fake names are: #1 Elusive shadowhawk, #2 Forked Glitterwing, #3 Gilded Marshstalker, and #4 Spreadwing Fendancer. The last three are pretty silly, but good enough to fit in with other equally silly names. The elusive shadowhawk, though, is a pretty awesome name for a dragonfly (or something), if I do say so myself. Thanks for playing!

    • One of the choices I thought couldn’t be a real dragonfly was the umber shadowdragon. I thought you had made up the word “umber.” I had no idea it was a real word. Although, I believed your “elusive shadowhawk.” I thought the fake name for the first question was the common baskettail. What does having a baskettail even mean?


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